Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Charleston Currents feature July 2014

Cool spots for kids that keep summer reading hot
By LEIGH SABINE, contributing editor
Special to Charleston Currents

JULY 21, 2014 -- When a child leaves a grade level behind and summer commences, every parent hopes the child will somehow retain enough vital knowledge to enter the next grade level on a strong foothold.
Schools assign a summer reading list to encourage children to keep their minds as active as their bodies and we are fortunate to have a wonderful public library summer reading program that supports this aim.
For the last eight years, we at Pluff Mud Kids have been fans of the summer library reading initiative and have found other local venues that offer creative reading areas for children as well. By supporting these local booksellers we find bargain books and help with age appropriate selections thus keeping small businesses with inviting reading spaces alive and well in our community.
Browsing books allows children to discover for themselves what's popular with their peers as well as leafing through selections their parents or grandparents may have enjoyed as kids. Herewith, a list of bookshops and libraries we have grown particularly fond of with special consideration for children. After all, whether you cuddle up and read aloud to your child or they settle into a book on their own, reading is a wonderful retreat on a hot summer day! (All of the locations listed here are featured on in the archives under "Books" and/or "Library." Check out our reviews.)
These spaces all offer their own special twist on book nooks for kids of all ages:
  • Charleston County Library Summer Reading Program. This year, the program is titled "Fizz, Boom, Read" and is designed for children aged 11 and under. Sign up and log reading hours to receive prizes. (Your child is also entered for a chance to win a grand prize.) This program really helps motivate and inspire children to read a lot and be accountable for keeping track of their reading time over the summer months. The program runs through August 10 -- just in time for school to pick up and keep the ball rolling. Teens in grades 6 to 12 can get in on the action with this summer's "Spark a Reaction" reading program, which rewards prizes as well as a graphic T-shirt. This is a FREE program.
  • The Charleston Library Society and the Timrod Library. Both of these libraries are steeped in history and charm and are by membership only. The Charleston Library Society is located in downtown Charleston and the Timrod library is in Summerville. These private libraries offer unique, cozy reading areas for children with many titles that are no longer in print and are hard to find making this a sweet option for grandparents who enjoy summer reading with old favorites. Passing their enthusiasm on to emerging readers is an incredible tool in terms of inspiring avid reading habits.

  • NEWLY RENOVATED. Blue Bicycle Books recently completed an extensive renovation of its King Street space, which included updating a kids' reading room. The bookstore, which opened in 1995, has in the past housed a print shop, ophthalmologist's office and deli. Photo provided, by Lauren Sanchez Design.
    Blue Bicycle Books, 420 King St., Charleston. Owner and author Jonathan Sanchez has recently redesigned this bookshop to include a beautiful space just for young children (complete with teepee!) This creative bookshop features "used, rare, and local" books and you can always find something intriguing here for readers of all ages.
  • A Very Little Bookstore, 112 S. Main St., Summerville. This delightful bookshop is just for kids with a well chosen array of books that encourage reading at an early age. Little ones can sit and sample a book in a cozy space that's not quite as overwhelming as a big library or bookstore can be, making the selection process a little easier.
  • Indigo Books, 472 Freshfields Dr., Johns Island. This little bookshop is perfect for grabbing a beach read and has a fantastic section for children that offers activity books, chapter books, and unique picture books for children of all ages. There are also cards and wrapping paper here for one-stop shopping for gifts for children who love to read.
  • Mr. K's Used Books, 5070 International Blvd., North Charleston, as well as locations in four other cities including Greenville. If no one told you this was a used book store, you would never know it. This huge, immaculate, well-organized space specializes in gently used books, comics, DVDs, CDs, and much more all at low prices. Trade your used books in for new titles and keep the reading bug alive! We love the children's corner here and have had good luck in finding school summer reading list books at rock bottom prices. Allow plenty of time to have a lengthy look around.
All of these local bookshops and reading spaces are featured in stories on with more entries to come. Enjoy your summer reading!

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